Bender feted as producer of the year

Tarantino, Weinstein, Cayla help bestow achievement nod

CANNES — Becoming the first non-Euro so honored, Lawrence Bender on Sunday was saluted as the Cannes Film Festival’s producer of the year, essentially a lifetime achievement award. Holding the trophy, Bender joked, “It’s a little early in the career, but I’ll take it!”

About 60 well-wishers gathered in the Cafe des Palmes Sunday at noon. After a brief intro by Gilles Jacob, Veronique Cayla (speaking with an English-lingo translator) said the producer’s “history is so linked to that of the festival,” and she saluted Bender for “proving to Hollywood you can attract viewers to auteur films.”

Miramax topper Harvey Weinstein said Miramax is sometimes referred to as the House That Quentin Built, “but Quentin’s house was built by Lawrence.”

A hoarse Quentin Tarantino (“I sound like Winnie the Pooh today”) said Bender’s attention to details means that “Lawrence produces the movie as if he were (the) director.”

If Bender seems too young to get the fest’s third such salute, Tarantino exclaimed, “Dealing with my silly ass deserves a lifetime achievement award, trust me.”

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